Memories in Rotterdam: NYE ’09

Two young Filipina girls, all bundled up in their coats and shawls, shivering in the cold while everybody around them are dancing, shouting and welcoming the New Year with much much more enthusiasm than them.

That was how we looked, Diana and I, when on New Year’s eve of ’09, we trooped down to Erasmus bridge to celebrate the coming year. We were among the hundreds of young people, beating the cold, dancing to the music played by the bands on the boat and counting the minutes till 2010.

Since we don’t party so much, we didn’t know how to actually mix with the crowd. All around us, Dutch people seems to just blend in and rhyme with the next person beside them, stranger or not. At one point, I felt stupid that all I can manage is to take photos instead of actually grooving to the music. But Diana and I, we laughed the awkwardness off and joined the anticipation for the countdown.

When Mayor Aboutaleb was called on-stage we knew that any minute from then, the countdown will begin. Surely after he finished his speech and transferred the European Youth Capital tittle to Torino, the countdown began.

All the difficulties of 2009, of beginning a life in a country totally different from my home, of leaving my family behind, of struggling with homesickness and finding myself again, here in Holland, seemed to have slowly eased away from. And I have my dearest friend beside to celebrate it.

We joined the crowd in counting. Vijf…vier…drie..twee…een!!!!

The fireworks were beautiful  above the famed Erasmus Bridge. The sky was glowing in colors and the noise the the firecrackers made sounds like music. The light shone on top of the bridge and dance in the sky for all the Rotterdamers to see. Everyone was cheering for 2010.

And in the middle of it all, there were two young girls, unsure of the future, but determined to make an exciting 2010! And we did.

In 2010 some of my dreams came true. And I found myself again in Holland, the girl I was when I left the Philippines woke up again and took up the challenges of being an expat. And I think I triumphed! But 2011 will be another story.

From spending half a year in Spain, Diana went back home, and also took up the challenges of starting anew. Now again, in 2011, she is leaving home, for another country to begin yet another chapter of her exciting life.

We wish ourselves luck! And to you too my dear readers. Happy New Year. May the new decade brings us happiness.